By Frederick Meekins
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Posted: 03 February 2005

The government has released a database of schools accredited in a manner approved by the Department of Education.

The purpose of the database is to serve as a reference to protect employers from hiring those whose credentials come from so-called diploma mills. Often these schools require little more than a check to acquire a degree.

However, the database may also stifle the innovations in distance education that have arisen over the past few years since it equates "unaccredited" with "underhanded". Already the Washington DC Fox affiliate, WTTG Channel 5, is calling it a "List Of Real Colleges and Universities", making no distinction between the unaccredited schools that require a significant amount of work and those that merely accept your check and will even pad your grades based on what one is willing to pay.

Education bureaucrats and even a few misguided Congressional Representatives argue such oversight is necessary to protect the American people from those wielding faulty degrees. You know, the usual rubbish about Homeland Security and all.

But apart from certain professions such as medicine, does it really matter where someone has acquired their knowledge? Why should someone whose been to Harvard automatically be considered more intelligent than someone who has gained as much wisdom and experience (if not more and probably of better quality not intellectually contaminated by the radicalism of subversive academics) through a life of independent study and career experience in fields say such as business, government, or journalism?

Who is actually more deserving of the appellation of "doctor"? Is education, after all, a measure of the knowledge one has acquired or how many hours one has wasted under the yolk of windbags that couldn't find employment doing anything else?

Some might not have much of a problem with the government decreeing which schools are or are not legitimate. But in this day when national security and the increasing complexity of life are constantly invoked to justify increasing levels of intrusion into our lives, what's to prevent a similar approach being taken in determining which churches are deemed acceptable in terms of promulgating governmentally sanctioned theology?

Copyright 2005 by Frederick Meekins